Oh Christmas Staff

Anyone who has ever stepped into our office during the month of December can gather one important thing about us: here at the DBU Writing Center, we really love Christmas, and we go to great lengths to celebrate it. (If you don’t know what we’re talking about, come by our office anytime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. You’ll get it.)

Why? Well, the classic answer, of course, is that we are excited to celebrate the birth of Christ. We all do our best to not be consumed by the crazy hubbub of shopping and decorating and eating and remember that Christmas is still the precursor to Easter.

The more honest answer is that we have many, many other reasons to love Christmas. So, we polled our entire staff on some of the other aspects of Christmas that get us excited for the season. We asked ourselves two questions: what are we thankful for this year, and what do we want to receive for Christmas this year? The myriad of responses we got were both thoughtful and funny, so we just had to share them with you.

Things for Which We’re Thankful:

Ashley: I am beyond grateful for all of the amazing advice I‘ve received during 2017.

: Outside of those obvious things we talked about, I’m most thankful for the people in my life: my husband, my kids, my grandkids, my friends, and my staff.

Taylor Hayden: I am thankful for the amazing support system of friends and family that I have to help keep me going when life gets rough. Lately, the semester has made life crazy, so having people to cheer me up, distract me, and/or encourage me has helped make it bearable.

Leah: This year, I am super thankful for the oven in my apartment! I love baking, and I can’t wait to make all sorts of Christmas treats now that I am out of the dorms!

Karoline: I am most thankful for words. Specifically, I am reveling in all the ways they can be used to build up, bless, encourage, correct, and teach others. Incredibly thankful that God speaks to us through His gift of language and for all the different means of language we have access to!

Michelle: I feel God has richly blessed me this semester at DBU with new friends, amazing professors, and a supportive family. I believe I am most thankful for God opening the door for me to come to DBU in the first place and experience all He has prepared for me.

Jack: I am most thankful for my family. They support me in so many ways and have done so much for me throughout my life. I am very grateful for them, and I love this holiday season where I can spend time with them.

Savanna: I am thankful for people who actually use their blinkers.

Catherine: I think I’m most thankful for the gift of friendship. My friends I’ve made at college have been the best friends I’ve ever had, and impending graduation is making me realize how much I appreciate their presence in my life.

Lindsey: I’m most thankful for Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas. I used to watch this Christmas movie marathon with my family every year; I love continuing the tradition even though I’m not at home anymore.

Taylor Hayes: I am thankful for the Chick-fil-a on campus! Without it, I’d probably starve.

Becca: I am thankful for where I live now. I like the people I live with and the environment that feels like a home.

Maddison: I am thankful for a wonderful extended family of friends and immediate family that have supported me throughout my life, but especially my college career. There have been good and bad days, but these relationships are ones that I seek to keep for the rest of my life.

What’s On Our Christmas Lists:

Ashley: I want money for Christmas $$$$$$$$$$$

: What do I really, really want for Christmas? A pony and a place to keep it. Realistically, though, I have all I want or need, so I would like more sparkly pens, a trip to Scotland, or a week in New York City doing all the NYC things on my list. What am I likely to actually get? Who knows, but my husband Michael is the best gift giver ever, so whatever I get is sure to delight the little girl that still resides in my soul.

Taylor Hayden: I am obsessed with baking and kitchen gadgets, so anything related to baking supplies and or/utensils and small appliances for my current and future kitchen are at the top of my list.

Leah: For Christmas, I would like some fancy pens. I really enjoy journaling and hate buying expensive pens out of my own money.

Karoline: My once-sturdy army-green backpack has some significant rips and tears. So a new book bag to tote my heavy essentials around during my senior year wouldn’t be too shabby!

Michelle: Honestly, I cannot think of anything that I want for Christmas. I have a loving family, both at home and at DBU (#DBUishome). But, if I was forced to pick one thing, I would enjoy a drone or electric helicopter.

Jack: What I really want for Christmas is an international trip to Europe, Asia, or really anywhere other than here. Of course, the chances of receiving this gift are very slim, but I can dream and continue to ask. Maybe one day it will happen.

Savanna: I don’t want anything realistic for Christmas, so Hamilton tickets would be fabulous. Or if Jack wants to include me in the trip to “anywhere but here,” that would be cool, too. I hear London is beautiful this time of year.

Catherine: I’m hoping for as many Lord of the Rings/Middle-earth books as I can get my hands on, and maybe some money for the new Sonic the Hedgehog game (#jointheuprising).

Lindsey: For Christmas, I want either some Harry Potter wand makeup brushes or a remote-controlled BB-8 droid!

Taylor Hayes: I would like gift cards to basically any of the eateries that surround the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Free food brings me joy.

Becca: For Christmas, I want an external mic to plug into my phone. (Little known fact about me: I wish I could record every conversation I ever have and keep it as a physical copy forever.) In a similar vein, I’d also like for Andrew to Dropbox me the broadcast recording of our Christmas Eve services at church.

Maddison: I would say I’d like to upgrade my very old and cracked phone for a new, not-cracked one.


Sure, we have a lot to be thankful for. We love Jesus, and we love the story of how He came down to live among us and save us from eternal separation from God. But we have some weird stuff on our Christmas lists, too, and that’s okay. Our goal with these questions isn’t to provide passive-aggressive hints to our parents (although, to any who are reading, we hope this helps). Our hopes and dreams make us human, they make us unique, and they draw us closer to God. We want to embrace them as the God-given desires they are, even as we remember all the wonderful things He has already given us.

Merry Christmas, writers, and keep dreaming!

Intro/outtro written by Catherine

Image credit: Catherine Anderson

Advertisements

He is the Potter; I’m Only the Clay

Hello. My name is Haley, and I am a student at Dallas Baptist University. Today, I’m writing this blog to share something with the world that I’m not very proud of.

I’m an addict. I’m addicted to something so powerful, I lost possession of the strength needed in order to resist indulging myself with it. In fact, over winter break, I transformed from an addict into a full blown junkie.

My name is Haley Briggs, and my drug…is Harry Potter.

Okay, so maybe “addict” isn’t the most appropriate word to describe myself in regards to the fascination I have with J.K. Rowling’s seven-book series. However, anyone who knows me well would definitely say that I’m a Harry Potter fanatic (especially when it comes to the most superlative character, Ron Weasley).

ron weasley

(Beautiful, I know.)

By now, most of you are probably wondering, “Why is this psychotic, twenty-one-year-old college girl still fixated on a series that was written for children?” Well, I’m glad you asked.

When I was in the first grade, my older brother began his voyage through Rowling’s fictional world of magic. At this point, my youth prevented me from reading the world renowned chapter books alongside him; however, I watched as he marveled over Harry’s world and the things that Rowling made possible within it. I was intrigued, but as I aged, I sadly lost interest in Harry Potter and began reading books about princesses and cheerleaders and everything that my current role model, Hermione Granger, would have hated. I was a Muggle, and I didn’t even know it.* Even so, the years went by, and, though I thoroughly enjoyed the parts of the movies I ended up seeing, I never really understood how wonderfully enchanting Harry Potter actually was. Until now.

Imagine this:

It’s the first day of winter break. I come home, change into my favorite pajamas, and plop down on the most comfortable spot on the couch, swaddled in every blanket and pillow in sight. I turn on the T.V., start up the fireplace, and begin searching for something good to watch on Netflix. In approximately 8.5 seconds, with a Sonic cup in hand, I convert my parents’ living room into a paradise where I intend to stay until the daunting spring semester beckons me to return to life outside. Nothing could make this day better.

Or so I thought.

A few minutes into my somewhat colossal movie search, a strange figure emerges from the shadows of the hallway. As it moves into the light, I see my brother holding a stack of movies, still wrapped in glistening cellophane. He sets them on the coffee table, sits on the couch next to me, and forms a nest-like structure that is similar to mine.

“Wanna watch Harry Potter?” he asks, nodding towards the stack of 8 movies. “Sure,” I reply. Little did I know, this one word response would change my life forever.

Throughout the course of 4 days, I watched in awe as the characters of Rowling’s imagination grew and learned and lived. In roughly 1,186 minutes, I fell deeper and deeper in love with Harry and his friends. I marveled over potions, daydreamed about spells, and dreamed about jumping frogs made out of chocolate. Amazed, I watched for 19 hours and 46 minutes as witches and wizards mended broken glasses, healed fractured bones, levitated objects, and morphed into creatures of many kinds. In 19 hours and 46 minutes, one author’s imagination, portrayed in a series of motion pictures, clearly defined the meaning of courage, friendship, justice, love, magic, power, academia, family, loyalty, and kindness. I was obsessed. I was addicted. I was certain that nothing else had or would ever exist in the world that could ever compare to Rowling’s creation.

So, let’s flash forward to today.

As previously stated, today I’m writing this blog to share something with the world that I’m not very proud of. I’m writing this blog to admit that, over the course of winter break, I spent 19 hours and 46 minutes binge-watching Harry Potter, another 3 to 5 hours reminiscing about it by reading articles and watching videos on YouTube, and at least another 2.5 hours discussing just how mesmerizing the series really is with friends, family, and colleagues. That’s roughly 30 hours of my five-week break devoted solely to Harry Potter. Wanna know the sad part? Only 9 hours out of my five-week break were spent with the God and Father who created me.

Ouch.

Here I am, a Christian, entirely committed to imaginary friendships made with characters who fail to exist past the bindings of Rowling’s seventh book. There He is, God, entirely committed to strengthening a real relationship with a girl who hardly puts forth the time or effort to do so.

This. This is why I’m so ashamed.

pretty

I love Harry Potter and the qualities I see in Rowling’s writing; however, I find it disgraceful that I often fail to recognize the same qualities written in the Word of God. These qualities- courage, friendship, justice, love, magic, power, academia, family, loyalty, and kindness- were first defined by God in the Bible. From the age of two, I’ve heard and recited stories of Jesus doing miraculous things. He gave sight to the blind, turned water into wine, and brought the dead to life. He walked on water, calmed the deadliest of storms, and gave cripples the ability to walk. He was God in the form of a man, and He died on the cross so that we could be seen as sinless in the eyes of our Creator. We haven’t even gotten to the coolest part; He rose from the dead three days later without even saying “Wingardium Leviosa.”

If that doesn’t impress you, I don’t know what will. All I have to say is this: Harry Potter is great and inspiring and magnificent, but he ain’t got nothing on Jesus. So, from now on, I’m going to be addicted to Him. After all, He is the Potter; I’m only the clay.

*A muggle is a non-witch/wizard, typically unaware of the magical world.

Written by: Haley

Photo Credits: favim.com, thequeenstich.com, & clumsycrafter.com